American holidays. Keep them. Why? Because you are an American. It is a good thing to teach your children about American culture, which is also often Christian culture. Celebrate these holidays even (especially) in a foreign land.
Tradition is a great holding together of our lives. Every year my kids knew that the life-sized cardboard figures of the Pilgrim boy and Pilgrim girl would be put up on the wall. Autumn leaves would bedeck our tables for fall. Our clay handmade nativity set would come out at Christmas.
So even though my children never saw a turkey prepared for Thanksgiving, they never smelled the pine of a newly cut Christmas tree, they never heard Christmas music played in stores, they never had uncles, aunts, and grandparents come visit…yet they still knew the essence of the holidays:
1. God’s goodness to us.
2. Our thankfulness to God.
3. The warmth and security of family.
4. The fun of stopping normal days for a special day.
So as we celebrated the holidays, we did one public celebration with our national friends if it was a Christian holiday, and then one private celebration that was totally, over-the-top, American-only holiday. Because I wanted my children to know their heritage as Americans.
You can start your preparations long before the holidays. Before we left the States, I bought up seasonal decorations, after the holiday when they were on sale.
It’s a great time to stock up on wrapping paper, Christmas tree lights, and an artificial tree, if you want. Save up special food items – hide them away! And then bring them out for the big day.
Start shopping early when you go to town. You never know what you might find in that little store down the street!
This year we are making plans to celebrate the holidays in our new country. As always, it is challenging. But again, this year, I will make it special because I am the mama, and that is what mama’s are supposed to do for those that they love.
“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast….” Luke 2:41-42